Indian history is full of great kings and rulers who were not only great leaders but badass warriors too. Two of my favorites are Chhatrapati Shivaji and Maharana Pratap. Here I’ll be saying a few things about the Mewar warrior, Maharana Pratap.

Pratap was the eldest son of Udai Singh II, the then king of Mewar. His reign was in the 16th century, a time when the Mughal Empire was at its peak in India. Since his childhood he was a dedicated learner and an obedient son who was even ready to give up his kingdom for his younger brother. For Pratap, his father’s orders meant more than anything else.

Around 1567, when Akbar was spreading his reign across the country, parts of Rajasthan were still under the rule of Udai Singh. Akbar attacked Chittorgarh and captured the fort, killing a lot of soldiers and destroying many temples in the process. Akbar’s plan was to fully capture Mewar and take all the small rulers under him. After the death of Udai Singh in 1572, Pratap was crowned as the king of Mewar. After becoming the king, Pratap first defeated the Rathors to ensure full protection of the entire Godwad and the Arawali ranges.

When it was clear that Pratap was not going to give up his kingdom, Akbar launched his first attack, the battle of Haldighati. It is said that for every 1 man in Pratap’s army, there were 10 Mughal soldiers. Even then under the leadership of Pratap, the Mughals weren’t able to make him surrender. Although Pratap’s army had to retreat and the fort of Gogunda was captured, only after some time it was recaptured by the Mewar king. To throw some light on what a great warrior Pratap was, here’s a picture.

During the encounter with Bahelol Khan, Pratap cut him along with his horse into two pieces in the battle of Haldighati.

It is worth mentioning that before the battle of Haldighati, most of Pratap’s ministers wanted him to surrender to the Mughals. It was only after his great speech and commitment that they fought with double the zeal and sacrificed their lives for the motherland. Here’s a part of that speech.

“My brave warrior brothers, our Motherland, this holy land of Mewar, is still under the clutches of the Mughals. Today, I take an oath in front of all of you that till Chittod is freed, I will not have food in gold and silver plates, will not sleep on a soft bed and will not stay in the palace; instead I will eat food on a leaf-platter, sleep on the floor and stay in a hut. I will also not shave till Chittod is freed. My brave warriors, I am sure that you will support me in every way sacrificing your mind, body and wealth till this oath is fulfilled.”

As you can see, Pratap wasn’t just a great warrior, he was a great orator and a skilled leader too.

After fighting relentlessly for 10 years, due to the vastness of the Mughal army and slowly decreasing amount of soldiers in his own, Pratap had to escape to jungles to keep himself free from the Mughal Clutches. He wandered in the jungles day and night with his family with practically nothing to eat and no resources at hand. Even after such severe conditions, Pratap never gave up. Only when there was no way out, a chieftain Bhamashah offered him monetary help to reform an army and fight back for Chittor. Even in the extreme conditions, Pratap had so many supporters that he built a whole army from scratch and fought back the Mughals. He launched an attack on Dever and won. After repeated small battles, Pratap was able to win back Mewar, although his wish to free Chittor remained unfulfilled.

Pratap died due to an injury he got while hunting a tiger in 1597. He remained unbeaten and free till his last breath and gave the Mughals a very hard time. He, along with his loyal horse Chetak who died saving Pratap in the Haldighati battle, has been immortalized in the songs and ballads of Rajasthan. No one can forget the great contribution of the Mewar king to the history of Rajasthan.

Some of the sources used to get my facts right:
Maharana Pratap -The Indian Warrior King.
Maharana Pratap – The Bravest of the Brave.

Do tell me if I missed anything, I’ll be happy to add/edit 🙂

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